Wanderlust, yoga by day — free-spirit dance party by night in Squaw Valley | TheUnion.com

Wanderlust, yoga by day — free-spirit dance party by night in Squaw Valley

Natalie Otis
Special to The Union

The Wanderlust festival with its yoga classes, speakers, farm to fork features, and live music is returning to Squaw Valley Ski Resort July 20-23.

The event is billed as a retreat to "find your truth north" for adventure seekers and those looking for inspiration or ideas on building connection. A yoga-centered concept which is now becoming more main-stream.

According to a study released earlier this year by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance, 36.7 million people in the United States are yoga practitioners, up from 20.4 million in 2012.

The "Yoga in America Study" took a national look and uncovered the industry of yoga and its seemingly never-ending growth in appeal continues to gain popularity year after year.

, “I think that yoga’s popularity in the West is in large part because it speaks to something that everyone can relate to, the fundamental experience of having a body and navigating our lives.”

— Ashton Szabo, Grass Valley’s Kinfolk yoga teacher

YOGA OFFERS 'SOMETHING MORE'

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Grass Valley's Kinfolk yoga teacher Ashton Szabo said that after teaching for more than a decade he believes people are coming to yoga because it offers an opportunity for something more.

"The practice offers a different way to approach the moment and how we relate to our daily lives," Szabo said, "I think that yoga's popularity in the West is in large part because it speaks to something that everyone can relate to, the fundamental experience of having a body and navigating our lives."

Events like Wanderlust do well to cater to this community of people looking for more. Starting with finding amazing destinations like Squaw Valley to host these unique events. According to the study, yoga students spend $16 billion per year on classes, gear and equipment. That's where Wanderlust festivals fit right in.

Boiled down, the gathering is a four-day adventure that offers an array of experiences for this big-spending growing audience. These offerings include yoga, food, music, hiking, biking, paddle boarding, kayaking, meditation, acrobatic skills and more.

Attendees sign up through the Wanderlust website ahead of time and create their own day-to-day experience by pre-registering for classes online. Well-known teachers are brought in to help draw attendees but what makes Wanderlust unique is that the festival-goer designs their experience through their selection of classes. Attendees can make it as mellow and introspective or wild and free-spirited as they like.

Kim Small with Wanderlust said attendees get three classes and two talks to pick from each day, and unlimited designated bonus classes.

ALL IN A DAY'S 'WORK'

A day for one attendee might be paddle boarding in the morning, riding the tram to high-camp to attend the pool party, followed by a talk on meditation and a farm to table meal in the evening. While another attendee can take back to back power yoga classes, get their hair braided, balance on a slack line, and then create a totem to finish off the day before taking in a concert and dancing the night away.

The classes cater to the lifestyle of the yoga-centered people but the festival provides opportunities for non-yoga folks to listen to motivational talks, take nature walks, meditate and engage in one of a kind experiences that instructors are encouraged to personalize.

The event takes over the entire ski resort. Stages, tents, and countless food and merchandise vendors collectively create the Wanderlust experience, including high-camp adventures and tent camping for an immersive experience.

The make-up of the massive 11,000 plus people crowd draws a mixed bag. The gathering draws kids, serious yogis, hikers, drinkers, runners, locals, foodies, travelers, shoppers and first-timers.

For locals, it's an opportunity to take in offerings that others have traveled thousands of miles to experience.

The Squaw Valley gathering is the third stop this festival has made this year with the first two in Snowshoe, West Virginia and Stratton, Vermont and the final three in Canada.

KNOW & GO

WHAT: Wanderlust Festival

WHERE: Squaw Valley, CA

WHEN: Thursday, July 20 to Sunday, July 23

INFO: http://www.wanderlust.com

A WIDE ARRAY

The Squaw Valley grounds are open to non-ticket holders with food, small live music performances and plenty of shopping opportunities for non-ticket holders. Classes and events require tickets. Four-day tickets are $500, three-day tickets are $410 with single-day tickets starting at $108 for Thursday and Sunday, $160 for Friday and $170 for Saturday.

Night life? Nightly concert tickets are $20 and $30. Performances feature Lettuce’s sonic sounds, the electric soul of Little Dragon, the soul- bluegrass funk of Dustbowl Revival and many more. Go to http://www.wanderlust.com for more specifics.

YOGA — Top tier yoga classes taught by the world’s most sought-after teachers: Gurmukh, Kathryn Budig, Seane Corn, Rod Stryker, Janet Stone, Adriene Mishler, Briohny Smith, Anne Marie Kramer, Dave Romanelli and more.

MUSIC — Live performances nightly and plenty of side acts and unique instruments.

NATURE — Outdoor enthusiasts can take in stand-up paddle boarding, musical hikes and adventure runs, outdoor meditations, kayaking and more. Open areas will host an array of activities such as aerial yoga, acrobatic yoga, hula hooping, slacklining and more.

MEDITATION — Unplug and get centered with meditation classes from renowned teachers such as: Tracee Stanley, Davidji, Jennifer Partridge, Anand Mehrota, Priya Deepika Mohan and more.

FIND YOUR TRUE FORK — Wanderlust’s brand new interactive culinary stage where participants will experience hands-on how to make fresh and healthy dishes from top chefs and wellness experts.

TALKS — The Speakeasy series, a lecture program featuring leaders in the community: Dr. Betty Uribe will tell attendees how to get what they want — in an authentic way; musician and activist Madame Gandhi discusses what “the future is female” really means; business expert Michael Ellsberg will speak about money, wealth, and spending by investing in you.

FOOD & WINE — The farm to table dinner is a chef-crafted meal sourced locally farmed food fine dining experience. At the Salt and Smoke barbeque they plan to celebrate the best of the South by offering dancing to live music, and savoring local barbeque and veggie options. Sampling of local and imported wine, beer, and libations, accompanied by live music with a bonfire.

— Natalie Otis

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